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Title: Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Aycock, Grace, interviewee
Interview conducted by Weaver, Frances A.
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 176 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-04, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0037)
Author: Frances A. Weaver
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0037)
Author: Grace Aycock
Description: 164 Mb
Description: 19 p.
Note: Interview conducted on March 28, 1990, by Frances A. Weaver; recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series L. University of North Carolina, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990.
Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Aycock, Grace, interviewee


Interview Participants

    GRACE AYCOCK, interviewee
    FRANCES A. WEAVER, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
This is Tape 1A of an interview with Grace Mewborn Aycock, Mrs. William B. Aycock. The interview is taking place in Mrs. Aycock's home on Arrow Head Road in Chapel Hill. It is March 28, 1990. I am Frances Weaver. Grace, where were you born and when?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was born on September 18, 1919 on a farm in Greene County, eastern North Carolina.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
On a farm, not in a town?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No, on a farm.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And your father, then, was a farmer?
GRACE AYCOCK:
My father was a farmer, and he also did other things. He, at one time, was an insurance agent for a little while. He was in county politics. He was a County Commissioner of Greene County for many years, and he was Clerk of the Superior Court in Greene County for twenty years. He was a Primitive Baptist minister.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What was his name?
GRACE AYCOCK:
His name was Joshua Eugene Mewborn.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And your mother, what was her name?
GRACE AYCOCK:
My mother was Emma Gertrude Turnage, T-U-R-N-A-G-E, Mewborn.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And what did she do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
She was a homemaker. There were nine children in our family.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Nine. Where did you come in that order?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was number four.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Boys and girls?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Six girls and three boys. I was the fourth child and the fourth daughter.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So there were four girls and then boys and then girls and then a boy?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And you all grew up and went to school in what community?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The first year I went to school was to a two-room country school. The neighbors' children and we rode a horse and buggy to school. It was about two miles.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And after that first year in school?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The school was consolidated with the Snow Hill School. Then we rode a school bus.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see. So you were adjacent to Snow Hill? That was the community?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Four miles away, yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That's where you shopped. Did you go to high school in Snow Hill?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I graduated from Snow Hill High School.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That would probably have been about the time of the Depression?
GRACE AYCOCK:
In 1935.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
1935. How did the Depression affect your family?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We were very much aware of it. We never had very much money, so it was a usual circumstance, but we were aware that tobacco was selling very poorly.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And your father was primarily a tobacco farmer?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. We grew other things, and my mother had a beautiful garden and grew turkeys.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh really, for market?
GRACE AYCOCK:
For market. The money was used to buy our school clothes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That was her part of the farming.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That's interesting. I guess you had a kitchen garden that provided vegetables for the family.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Indeed. We canned and in later years froze vegetables and fruits.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you go to college?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.

Page 2
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Where?
GRACE AYCOCK:
My first year, I was at Duke.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You were? I didn't know that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You entered college in 1936?
GRACE AYCOCK:
In the fall of 1935.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
1935, yes, you entered Duke.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was fifteen years old.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh my goodness. How does that happen, fifteen? How did that happen, Grace? I stopped the tape at that moment that you entered college at age fifteen.
GRACE AYCOCK:
It happened because I had skipped the third grade.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That was a technique used in the schools in those days.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right. Many children, well, I should not say "many," some children. I had a sister who also skipped a grade. I stayed in the second grade one month and was then sent to the third grade.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
North Carolina public schools had eleven years in those days.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Eleven grades.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So that you entered Duke at fifteen. That's rather daunting to think about.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was sixteen shortly thereafter.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Then after one at Duke where did you go?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I transferred for financial reasons to what is now UNC-G. At that time, it was the Woman's College of the University.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were at Woman's College for three years?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What was your major there?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I had a BS degree in secretarial administration.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were thinking of that in terms of career.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right. I knew I must go to work.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
How about your other siblings. Did they also go to college?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. My mother and father nearly always had two children in college and sometimes three.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did they go to the state institutions, most of them?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Two of my sisters were at Duke. Other than that, we were at North Carolina State, the Woman's College of the University, and East Carolina.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Do you remember any teachers at Woman's College? Does anybody stand out in your mind when you think about it?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Several. Miss Louise Alexander.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What did she teach?
GRACE AYCOCK:
She taught "The Family," a course in marriage and the family. It was an elective, but she was a very good teacher.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And who else?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Miss Bernice Draper, who was our class advisor. I did not have a course under her, but I did get to know her. And Miss Harriet Elliot, who was the Dean of Women.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I've heard of her, yes.
GRACE AYCOCK:
And Dr. Keister, K-E-I-S-T-E-R, taught economics. Mr. Claude Teague, who later became the Business Manager here, taught me business law.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did he really? I didn't know that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. Of course, you studied economics, business law, accounting, and learned to run a number of machines.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were really prepared to go out into the world as a professional woman when you graduated.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, a secretary.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
How would you characterize that experience at the Woman's College? Did you enjoy it? Was it fun?

Page 3
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did enjoy it. I was affected by the fact that I was there three years rather than four.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
In what way?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Most of the friendships had been made before I arrived. I felt strange for a while, but people were nice to me, classmates and dormitory mates, so that I became at home.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I know, from hearing Fred talk about it, that there was a considerable bit of, what people laugh at now, dating. Woman's College people dated people on the campus at Chapel Hill. Did you do any of that? Did you come over?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I did. I came to Chapel Hill for many dances.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Even when I was here, buses would come over from Greensboro. Did you do that when you came over?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I did, for football games. I rode the bus over here in the morning and back that night.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
But you also had male dates here, and you would come over to see them specially.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Oh yes. You had a date when you arrived who met the bus.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Do you have any carry-over friends from those days, people who you still see?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I do.
The first one I think of is Sarah Virginia Dunlap, who is "Peaches." We were in the same class. Another is Mrs. John Watson from Greensboro. She was Susannah Thomas. We lived near each other in the dormitory for three years and became good friends and still are.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You still are. That's interesting. So after college, you must have graduated in 1939, what did you do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I went to work in Raleigh at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That was Dave Coltrane's operation. I remember him well.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Kerr Scott was the State Commissioner. Mr. Coltrane was the Assistant Commissioner, and after several months, I worked for Mr. Coltrane.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Directly. Did you see Kerr Scott in those days?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did see him, and I worked in his office for six weeks when his secretary was ill.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So when he became Governor, you all knew each other?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I can still remember that red Ford with the different shade of red, Alamance County clay, on it, so that later, when he was Governor, led the good roads movement. Having grown up on a country road, I was wholeheartedly for it.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh yes. When did you meet Bill Aycock?
GRACE AYCOCK:
After a couple of years, I went to work at the National Youth Administration as a secretary.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You left the Department of Agriculture?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, for a substantial raise in pay.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were at NYA when Bill was there?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, and that's where I met Bill.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
When were you two married?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We were married in October of 1941, about six weeks before World War II erupted.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What a time to get married. And then what happened? Bill, I know, from having talked with him on tape, had been in the Reserves, had done four years in ROTC at State, so he was called up immediately and went to Alabama. What did you do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
He was called in January, so it was very soon after we were married. I went to Alabama.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You went to Alabama with him?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did.

Page 4
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And what were your living conditions then?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We had a small apartment, did not have a living room.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What did it have?
GRACE AYCOCK:
It had a bedroom, and the kitchen was across the hall from the bedroom.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
This was adjacent to Camp McClellan?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Fort McClellan.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
During those years when Bill was at Fort McClellan, did you work?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did not work. We were there about, less than a year before he went to Fort McPherson, Georgia to school.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did he go back and forth? It seemed to me he said on tape. . . .
GRACE AYCOCK:
Several times, and I went with him.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you'd pull up stakes and go with him?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right. We gave up our place to live because he was always told he could not come back. He had already been there too long, longer than Army requirements, but then he was reassigned with a different job.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So he would come back, and you'd move back again.
GRACE AYCOCK:
We'd find another place to live.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So that was really an anxious existence.
GRACE AYCOCK:
It was. It was an anxious existence also because we did not have anywhere to live, and finding a place was not easy.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
When was young Bill born?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Our son was born in March of 1943 in Alabama.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You were at Fort McClellan then. He was born in a military hospital, just as many Army wives were doing?
GRACE AYCOCK:
He was born in a private hospital. The doctor was one I had never seen before the night he was delivered.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That's difficult. When did Bill go overseas?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Bill went overseas in January of 1945.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And what did you do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I lived with my parents, his parents, and his sister in Raleigh. We did not have an apartment, so that we would be several weeks at one home and then several weeks at the other.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Just moving around, and young Bill was eighteen months, two years old?
GRACE AYCOCK:
He was two years old while Bill was overseas.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Then Bill came home after V-E Day, sometime after V-E Day. I've forgotten what he said. He has it on tape. He went to Mississippi and was mustered out in Mississippi.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Bill's division was scheduled to go to Japan. Before they were to go, he had a month's leave. We were in New York during that month's leave, when the war was over.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Was that just a pleasure trip, another honeymoon, recovering from the war?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. So then he went to Mississippi and was mustered out.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you explore the city in that month? It must have been fun. Were you in New York City and just exploring?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We were not there a month. We were there a week.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So when Bill was mustered out, he has already said that he came directly to Chapel Hill and entered law school immediately. And then what did you do? Did you find a place to live?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, we lived for a short while with a veteran who had a small house on Basnight Lane who was awaiting the arrival of his British war bride. He shared his house with us for about six weeks, and just before she came, we found a house three miles out on the Pittsboro highway.

Page 5
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were out there with young Bill, and Bill commuted in. In those days, it would have been called commuting, three miles into town. Did you work in that period when Bill was a student and you were living out there?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No, I did not.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You were taking care of young Bill. When did you move into Victory Village?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We had a daughter born on Pittsboro Road in 1947. Bill graduated from law school in 1948 and joined the Law Faculty immediately. There was a rule that you could stay in Victory Village several months after graduating from school.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Had you moved into Victory Village after Nancy was born?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, Nancy was about four months old when we moved to Victory Village, and she was about three when we left.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you lived there almost three years.
What was it like in Victory Village? Did you have one of the houses? First were you in a house or an apartment?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We had what was called a U.K. house. They were built during the war for the United Kingdom. We were on Daniels Road, which was a dead end road. There were about sixteen houses, and residents were graduate students for the most part. There was an ROTC instructor and one government employee, but most of us were graduate student families.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you make friendships with those people?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We were very close. It was a happy time. All of us were budgeting and counting pennies.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Lots of children?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Not everyone had children. There were some wives who went to school. There were some who worked outside the home. There were others, like me, who were having babies or were full-time homemakers.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did Ida and Bill Friday live in Victory Village?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, there were several families on our end of Daniels Road who stayed with the University after they finished schoolߞ Ida and Bill Friday, the Gordon Clevelands, the Chanletts, Eliska and Emil Chanlett, Bob and Martha McKee, Joe and Gen Hilton. We are still friends.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Those are the kinds of friendships that really seal tight, I think, those that you make in graduate school, and sharing so much the same experience and pinching pennies. Did Dick Phillips and his first wife live in Victory Village when Dick was in law school?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No, they lived nearer town, on Pittsboro Road, nearer than where we lived when we lived out there.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
There were other people in Bill's law school class and in his study group, John Jordan.
GRACE AYCOCK:
John Jordan, Bill Dees. Bill Dees and Ozella lived in the Carolina Inn apartments.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I don't know where he lived. It's not important.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I do not think John was married. I'm not sure.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was living on campus, Grace. I knew vaguely who he was in those days. What did you all do? What kind of social life was there other than seeing each other coming and going and being there? Did you all get together on Saturday nights and do things?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did do some cooking outside at cookouts. All of us had friends in our particular schools where the men, and they were men for the most part, who were in graduate school were studying.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you would do things like that when the men could take any time or would take any time.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Well, we had friends in other parts of the University, and we socialized with them also. I remember, Fran, so pleasantly, being outside with

Page 6
other mothers of small children who needed to be babysat, and we mended, we visited, we became close friends watching the children play outside.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I've thought of that often. When my children were coming along, I'd go to Glen Lennox, and Jean Heard and Liddy Bet Holsten and I would sit around and watch our children. It was, in a sense, group therapy without being called that because we all were sharing the same concerns of husbands and child rearing and no money and all of that. This house that we're sitting in was built in 1950?
GRACE AYCOCK:
1950, yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So after you left Victory Village, where did you live? Did you go directly from Victory Village to here?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, we did.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I know that Bill had a hand in the actual construction of the building.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Bill did a great deal of work on this house. I did some more after we moved. I did some painting.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
During that period, after you moved into the house, you were raising the children. Bill was beginning teaching and getting very involved in University affairs. He was asked to do a study on health affairs in which he has said, on tape, that you participated, as a research assistant.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I read most of the correspondence. I went through the files and found things that were pertinent to codification of rules and regulations in the Health Affairs Division.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you have to go on location or were the files transferred out here for you to get?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I went to the various offices.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, while you were maintaining your home and raising the children, were you involved in community affairs in Chapel Hill in any way?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was very involved.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What did you do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
When we moved to Arrow Head Road, our son was already in grammar school. I was involved with the PTA, with the library committee.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What was it called?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The Peter Garvin Memorial Library. When the Glenwood School opened, there were no library books. We parents who had come from, whose children had come from school downtown, were shocked. The PTA had a library committee. Helen Peacock, at that time, was not working; she was pregnant. She helped out. She provided the professional work. We parents did the clerical work. We added 500 books to that library that year.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And how did you raise the funds for that?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The schools supplied it, the Superintendent, Mr. Davis.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
They set aside space at Glenwood?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Oh yes. There was a library.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh, but no books in it! And it was named for Margaret and David Garvin's son, who had died, Peter. I remember that Harold Weaver was involved in that effort because he was so very fond of Margaret and Dave. They were neighbors.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I also taught Sunday School.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
In which church.
GRACE AYCOCK:
In the Community Church and in the University United Methodist Church.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
The Community Church was formed in the 50s. That's when Charlie Jones left the Presbyterian church, and he and other people in town formed the Community Church, and you worked in that. Did you know Charlie well?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No. We thought he was a very good minister. We had not known him before hand.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
But you went out there when he went out there?

Page 7
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, when that church was formed.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Does that mean you had been in the Methodist church and then joined the Community Church?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Have you kept your interest in that church over the years?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Detached. When our daughter was engaged to be married, she wanted to be married in the Methodist church because she had been a member of the MYF.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, and it's a vital organization and has been traditionally.
GRACE AYCOCK:
So during that time, we became interested in them very much, and when we joined the church again, it was like going home.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What was Chapel Hill, the community, like in those days, Grace. You worked in various aspects of it, as a volunteer.
GRACE AYCOCK:
One of the things I was active in was the Community Chest drive. In those days, that's what it was called.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, raising money for the organization. Did you work on the town side of the effort?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I can remember being the Greenwood chairman, when Orville Campbell was the chairman of the entire drive.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
The community was organized in residential areas, and then somebody worked the campus. And the children went to Glenwood. Did you do other things? Were there other things that you can recall that involved you in volunteer work?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I can remember taking part in the Heart Association fund drive. I was a den mother. I worked with Girl Scouts as well as Boy Scouts. I entertained some of Bill's law students.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Were you a member of the University Woman's Club in those days?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I was and later was a member of the University YWCA Board.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, did you know they're having a celebration, an anniversary, 130 years.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, and I also was a member of the Brooks Scholarship Selection Committee.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I have done that as well and have always enjoyed that. As a Y Board member, Grace, were you aware of some of the tensions created by some of the forward-looking attitudes as compared to some of the attitudes on campus? When I say forward-looking, I really mean racial.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I was aware of it. I was not really involved in it.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I never was either. I just, like you, was aware that some of the attitudes of some of the people in the Y were offensive to some of the more conservative people on the race issue.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Those tensions, mostly, came after my service on the Board.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, I know that you were in Virginia when Bill was asked to come down to interview with the Search Committee for the Chancellorship. He had then been teaching nearly ten years in the law school. Your children were what age in 1957?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Fourteen and ten.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And you and Bill were in a Visiting Professorship at the law school of the University of Virginia. What was your reaction when Bill said he had been invited to come to the Search Committee? What did you think?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was pleased. I felt he deserved it.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That's admirable. Did you and he discuss this at some length, this opportunity?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did not, of course, until he was selected. Then we did, and our children were in on the discussion also, but it was a family decision to accept it. I think though, Fran, that my feeling was that if Bill wanted to do it, then that's what we would do. He earned the living in the family, and the idea of my saying no, I did not think of.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you have any inkling of the changes it would bring into your life, to become the wife of the senior administrator in Chapel Hill?

Page 8
GRACE AYCOCK:
I don't think I did, Fran. I think after the many, many changes we had gone through already and the war, during the war years, and also when he came to law school, that change was very normal. I knew there would be changes, but I don't think I was aware of the extent of what they would be.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you come down with Bill to that meeting of the Search Committee?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, we came before he was selected. I remember better coming several times after he was selected, when we were still in Virginia that spring.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
But after he was selected, were you already aware that the new residence would be available for the Chancellor, the residence on Laurel Hill Road?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No, I cannot remember now exactly when it was bought. It was after we came back to Chapel Hill from Virginia.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That house had been the home of Dean Dudley Carroll of the business school, and it was purchased, Chancellor House was given the prerogative of remaining in the Chancellor's residence on Franklin Street. So the new house was purchased, and you and Bill were the first residents.
GRACE AYCOCK:
We were.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That house had to have considerable renovation and redecoration. Did you get involved in that?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did. Mr. Archie Davis was an architect, and there were two or three architectural changes, structural changes. There was a wall removed between the Carroll's dining room and breakfast room, which made a larger dining room. A porch was enclosed, which we used as a family room. The kitchen was completely re-done, and laundry room, which was next to the kitchen. Mr. Otto Zenke from Greensboro was the decorator.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, I remember that. I think he also helped Ida with the President's house.
GRACE AYCOCK:
He did. I went to High Point a few times with Webb Evans of the Purchasing Department to the furniture showrooms to select dining room furniture, bedroom furniture for the guest bedroom, and we bought some personal furniture at that time.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What was the arrangement between your personal expenditures on the house and the state's expenditures on the house? Did the state furnish part of it and you furnish part of it, or how did that work?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the state furnished the official part of the house, downstairs, and upstairs, the guest room.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Then you provided the furniture for your rooms and the childrens. Was the house air conditioned?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The house was not air conditioned.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Was it air conditioned during the time you lived there?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Not very long after we moved, I think the second summer, I cannot remember for sure, there were room air conditioners put in for the official part of the house.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So that would take care of the downstairs anyway. How about the guest bedroom?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The guest bedroom and our bedroom was included because off of it was Bill's study, a little cubby hole, a small room where he wrote his speeches.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So that was considered official. Well, you were beneficiaries of the state's thrift to that extent. How about friends? I know that, for instance, Georgia helped Ida with some of the decisions in regard to the President's house. Did friends and neighbors pitch in and help you in some of that decision-making?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I discussed a few things with both Ida and Georgia. I remember especially the china we selected.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Well, in addition to running a home for your husband and your children. . . .

Page 9
GRACE AYCOCK:
Excuse me, Fran, for interrupting. I should say that Mr. Zenke brought a number of pieces of furniture for the house. There were a few old pieces.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I thought I remembered there were some antiques in there.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, he brought those.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And together you and he made decisions on wallpaper and upholstery?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did. He was a very pleasant person to work with, easy to work with. I enjoyed it.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you enjoy it? Was it fun?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did. Yes, it was.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
In addition to running the home, then, after you and Bill moved in, did the children stay in the same school district in Chapel Hill. Did Nancy continue at Glenwood?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, she did.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Bill must have been approaching high school.
GRACE AYCOCK:
By that time he was in high school.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
The high school was still downtown?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, downtown on Franklin Street.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Inevitably, Grace, the Chancellor's wife is called on to form official entertaining. To do that on behalf of her husband and the University. Did you do that in those years?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did, Fran, but may I say first that I don't think anybody was ever welcomed to a new neighborhood any more than we were. Neighbors were most welcoming.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Who was around then? I'm trying to recall the Laurel Hill Road neighbors.
GRACE AYCOCK:
The Carrolls, the Crockfords.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Horace Crockford?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. The Dudley Cowdens, the Bernard Boyds, the John Couchs, they even had a neighborhood garden club. I was no gardener, but they invited me to join. I enjoyed it.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, and Mrs. Totten around the corner?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Mrs. Totten was very much active in it. Eleanor Pegg was very active in the garden club. Eleanor Pegg was a special friend to me in the Chancellor's house. She taught me to arrange flowers, beautiful. You needed at least five when you had your whole house open; you needed five arrangements. Eleanor not only taught me how to do them but how to do them quickly. In here, I should say that Mrs. Totten and Mrs. John Umstead were wonderful. They said, "Come and cut flowers whenever you like." It was not only an honor, it was very helpful.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, I can see because the necessity of keeping flowers in that house at all times, and I remember how beautiful they were, I really do. So you did entertain students?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did entertain. I interjected the things I just said to make you understand that I already felt very much a part of that neighborhood when the official entertaining began.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you knew you had some good backup and some help.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the first entertaining we did that spring was three teas a week apart for the University women to see the new Chancellor's house.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So that would have included faculty wives?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, all the members of the University Woman's Club.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That was the first real plunge in the water as an official hostess for the University. I can remember events, Grace, where we came and there were students. You had student leaders?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did, and it was a joy to get to know some of the students at any rate. We had student leaders. We had some members of athletic teams. I can remember once having the senior football players. There were receptions for students as well as dinners.

Page 10
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
In addition to that kind of entertaining, you also entertained out-of-town guests, and you had house guests. You had some of these visitors staying in your home.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the first groups I think of were alumni groups. Several schools had organizations themselves, in addition to the General Alumniߞthe medical alumni, the pharmacy alumni, the Law School. When they came to Chapel Hill for a meeting, then the spouses would usually come to our house for a coffee or a tea, reception.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What kind of domestic help did you have in this period?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We had a cook/maid. We had a University janitor, who ran the vacuum cleaner once a week. We had someone come from the grounds department who pulled weeds and mowed the grass. Mr. Walter Dunsmore was the head of the grounds department at that time. Giles Horney was head of buildings, I guess you would say. I did a lot of work with Giles when we were furnishing the house before we ever moved. I always worked closely with Giles. I got along fine with Giles.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So with that help, you would mount these dinners and teas and receptions?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the Carolina Inn usually furnished the refreshments when we had a reception, coffee, or tea, so that was a big help. Occasionally, they prepared some food when we had dinners. We always did some of the cooking and often did all of it. I did some cooking.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Who was your cook during this period?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The first person I had was named Mamie Davis. The second person was Mary Farrington. They were very good.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I can remember, Grace, among the out-of-town guests who may have stayed at your home were Nathan Pusey, the President of Harvard, and his wife. Were they house guests when they came?
GRACE AYCOCK:
They were, and Mrs. Pusey's luggage did not arrive.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So what happened?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Fortunately, she and I were about the same size, so that she could wear my dress. She did not seem at all put off by the fact that her luggage did not arrive.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
He came to speak at the millionth volume, I think.
GRACE AYCOCK:
At the library. We did not have very many overnight house guests. They stayed at the Carolina Inn in the Chancellor's suite for the most part.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see, and they would come to you for dinner or a reception or something.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
This is Tape 1B of an interview with Grace Mewborn Aycock, wife of William B. Aycock. The interview is taking place at Mrs. Aycock's home on Arrow Head Road in Chapel Hill. It is March 30, 1990. I am Frances Weaver. Grace, when we broke up the other day, we were talking about the guests you had in your home on Country Club Road after Bill became Chancellor. We had talked about the Puseys, and Mrs. Pusey's luggage not coming. Do you remember other visitors in the home, either overnight or guests that you entertained?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The Shannons from the University of Virginia and the Vaughans visited.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That's Edgar Shannon. He was President there.
GRACE AYCOCK:
He was President of the University of Virginia. I think I did say that we did not have many overnight guests, that most of them stayed in the Chancellor's suite at the Carolina Inn.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, you did mention that. Were there social obligations for entertaining that happened on a more or less annual basis?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the North Carolina Press Association met here annually.

Page 11
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
In January, I believe.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the latter part of January, and not always but usually, the wives, the spouses, came to our house for coffee probably in the morning.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
How about activities surrounding the University events like commencement?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, we usually had the commencement speaker and the honorary degree recipients and their families or friends who had come with them for that occasion.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I believe that I remember Norman Cousins. Was he one of the recipients or speakers?
GRACE AYCOCK:
He was a speaker. Norman Cousins was a very interesting person, and a person whom we were happy to get to know just that little bit. There was one amusing incident; it was not amusing to me at the time. When I asked the group what they would like to drinkߞthis was after commencement was over and people were usually thirstyߞwhen I asked him what he would like to drink, he said, "buttermilk." I knew I did not have buttermilk. I never kept buttermilk, but, of course, I ran next door to my dear neighbor Eleanor Carroll. Luckily, Eleanor Carroll had some buttermilk, so Mr. Cousins never knew how my heart sank when he gave that answer. Another occasion I remember well after commencement was when Ralph McGill, who was the editor of the Atlanta Constitution, was the speaker. We had an unexpected shower during the commencement program that evening, and most everyone came in from the exercises damp. Mr. McGill's comment was that at last he had found a use for a mortar board. He said that it had helped him to keep the copy of his speech dry. Everybody was a little damp. I remember when Vermont Royster received an honorary degree. He had a large group of family and friends because he was from Raleigh. They were close enough to come. Those were happy occasions, when we usually had some of the administrative staff or faculty officers who came also. Everyone who received an honorary degree had a friend who accompanied him.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, there's a phrase, "Guide, counselor, and friend," or something. I've forgotten.
GRACE AYCOCK:
And they, of course, always came too.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I remember the evenings with Norman Cousins, simply, I suppose, because I admired him so. It seems that after many of the people left, we ended up in the living room. There were students, so it must have been the President of the student body maybe. He makes the address, I guess, or President of the senior class, and Norman Cousins talking to them. That's etched in my memory.
GRACE AYCOCK:
They were as interested in meeting him as the rest of us were, of course. He was editor of the Saturday Review at that time.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, that's right. He's since gone on to do some interesting work in, I suppose, biomedicine. He's interested in the treatment of the whole person.
GRACE AYCOCK:
At UCLA, right. Another group that came not yearly, but I think more than once, was the Business Foundation, the Business School Foundation.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Your neighbor down here was involved in that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, Dr. Willard Graham.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Do you remember others, Grace?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the wives of the North Carolina Pharmaceutical Association Board came for lunch, I remember, once. We also had some other student groups that I have not mentioned. I remember especially the international students, and once when the group, there was a Canadian exchange, which the students had, and those visitors from Canada came once.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I can remember the Toronto students at your house. That had gone out of my mind entirely, but I remember it now.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Other groups I remember were the Hospital Auxiliary, Woman's Club board, Law, Medicine and Pharmacy Student Wives groups. There was a group of British educators and once the State Department asked us to help with a group of

Page 12
Japanese ladies. And I'm sure there are some other groups, Fran, that I have not mentioned.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Well, do you remember the Morehead ladies?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the Morehead ladies.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Mrs. John Lindsay Morehead, John L's wife.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, and the other members of the Executive Committee of the Morehead Foundation came along with some new prep school representatives.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That's when the Morehead Foundation was, in a sense, wooing the New England prep schools. I remember a luncheon with some of the wives of the headmasters of Groton and Exeter and Andover and how important it was for the University to include the New England prep schools in this program.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, indeed. I'd like to say, Fran, that I know you entertained the Morehead Executive Committee a great deal and also Eleanor Godfrey, Mrs. James Godfrey, entertained them at parties before their meetings.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, I remember going to the Godfrey's house a lot. You see, Fred was on the Central Selection Committee, the final committee before the names were passed to the Trustees, and that's how we got involved with the Moreheads. I remember Mrs. John Lindsay Morehead, Louise Morehead, especially, lovely woman.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, lovely person, and also Mary Morehead, who was Mrs. Hugh Chatham. All of them, Lindsay
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, and Jean Morehead, the other younger sister.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, Jean, who is not living now, they were very interesting people, and we always enjoyed so much having Roy and Mae Armstrong along in the early days and then, of course, I knew Mebane and Betsy Pritchett in later years, but that was after Bill was out of South Building.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And there was always "Uncle Mot," Mr. John Motley Morehead himself.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, once we had "Uncle Mot," as we affectionately called him, not to his face, and Mr. John L. Morehead and their wives for a meal in the middle of the day. I cannot tell you now who else came. I know that more than once, we had the Fridays and Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael, and it could well have been that they were present on that occasion.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Billy [Carmichael] was very close to "Uncle Mot." In fact, it was Billy's numerous courtesies to "Uncle Mot" that helped seal the bonds with the Moreheads and the Morehead Foundation. That was a great achievement of his.
GRACE AYCOCK:
We knew Mr. Kenan somewhat. Bill knew him much better, of course, than I did. I do not remember entertaining Mr. Kenan. I don't think he came to Chapel Hill as much.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I don't remember his coming that often. Of course, he had lots of family around here as opposed to Mr. Morehead, who did not.
GRACE AYCOCK:
We also had neighbors, the neighbors came to our house.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Just fun entertaining.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, it was fun once in a while to have that sort of gathering. There was another group, Fran, and I cannot remember the exact name of the group, but they were leaders of the various women's organizations in the state, on the state levelߞthe North Carolina Woman's Club, business and professional women's clubs. I can't tell you all the ones, but I do remember when they had a meeting here in the summer one year. They came down to our house after their meeting.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
An important group of women, something like the North Carolina Council of Women or something like that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Something like that, yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Well, Grace, in addition to being the hostess for all these events, there were numerous social obligations that took you and Bill out of your home. How much of that were you all required to do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did a great deal of it. There were certain times of the year that were busier with dinners and meetings than other times. October and April were

Page 13
especially busy times, times when we were out many nights in succession, and we have been known to go to meetings.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
One would go one way and one would go the other?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, a dinner more then a meeting.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you would represent Bill and the University one place and he another place. How did this go down with the children?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The children missed us. It was not easy for them. Bill was older; he was in high school and college. I think it was harder for Nancy because she was younger. She was four years younger, but I think they felt that that house was our home. Their friends came. I remember especially when it snowed, and we had one time when the temperature was low for a week following a snow. They went sledding on the Country Club golf course, which was across the street. Our house was headquarters, and they came. Nancy had pajama parties, and one occasion I remember clearly was when President Kennedy was assassinated. Several of Nancy's friends came to our house after school, and we talked about that. They were completely overcome. Really, they didn't know how to take it because they had never had anything like that to happen to them before. There were happy times. Bill brought his dates home and both children had parties. Both of them remember times when we were out on several successive nights, too.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, do you remember football Saturdays when we would assemble all the administrative and many of the faculty wives at the Morehead building?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Those were fun occasions. They were big occasions, but we saw many of the Trustees of the University and their spouses at that time. We saw many friends of the University who came.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
They would alternate. They'd have trustees, they'd have legislators, they'd have educators, they'd have different groups, sometimes as many as three and four hundred people for a buffet lunch.
GRACE AYCOCK:
There were a lot of people, and it was fun.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I remember sometimes picking you up because sometimes Fred and Bill would already be on the campus, so we would go in together. Then we'd meet our husbands and come home separately. I remember that you and Bill would greet people, maybe on the landing, maybe at the door, I've forgotten, but other wives were upstairs handing out pie and coffee to, and we were all hatted and gloved.
GRACE AYCOCK:
In those days, we wore gloves and hats.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I remember those particularly well. Were there other athletic events? Did you and Bill follow the basketball team in those days?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did. We were interested in all sports, baseball as well. Bill enjoyed baseball games before he ever became Chancellor. I have a photograph of Mr. Manley Wade Wellman and Jim Godfrey and Bill sitting in the old Emerson Field in the stands watching a baseball game. We had some of the athletic team members for dinner a few times in our house. Of course, we had student leaders, and we had some of the athletes as well.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, how about town-gown relationships in those days? Did you make any conscious effort to get to know some of the women whose husbands were not in the University?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I do not remember inviting them as a group. We felt we had a very friendly relation. We knew that we knew them well. They came with various groups. For instance, once the Chapel Hill Garden Club decorated our house and had their party at our house. We also opened the house to the public a day or so later. There were many of the women from town who were members of the Chapel Hill Garden Club, and I remember once, when the Chamber of Commerce was being formed that there was a meeting of the men, and there might have been some women involved, but they were forming a Chamber of Commerce, met at our house. We had many friends who were not connected to the University. They came to dinner.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you and Ida have any arrangement about who would entertain who or did it just work itself out informally?

Page 14
GRACE AYCOCK:
I think it worked itself out informally. Of course, Bill and I were the ones who decided what groups would be invited to our house. Bill and Ida, of course, did the same thing. Believe me, Fran, there were plenty of people to be invited to both houses. I think we often needed, without even realizing it, having the Woman's Club at one house this year and the other house next year. Ida Friday and I alternated yearly serving on the Woman's Club Board and on the Hospital Auxiliary Board.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Were you ex officio or voting members of those Boards?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We were voting members. We simply alternated.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Had you all worked that out or did the Club worked that out?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The clubs worked that out.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, did you travel out of town with Bill any? Was that part of your responsibility as the Chancellor's wife?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did travel out of town with him. I went to alumni meetings, of course, in North Carolina and New York and Washington. Some of the fun times I had during those seven years were when I went with Bill and I did not have obligations. I remember several trips to New York when he would be in meetings all day, and I visited the museums. I remember once getting on the bus and riding all the way upߞI've forgotten it now; I can't even say the name of the museumߞbut I got to know the city. It was just fun.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
One of the things Bill said to me when I was talking to him was that he felt a sort of basic unfairness that men in his position would come home and share their anxieties and frustrations and their problems with their wives and then, as he said, go off the next day and work on them, leaving the wife behind anxious and frustrated about not being able to affect any change. Did you feel that?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I don't think I felt it nearly as much as Bill thought I felt it. Of course, I wanted him to talk about whatever he wanted to talk about when he came home, and quite often, problems would come up. The next day, I was also busy. I was moving on to something else and I did not have time to worry about it a great deal, plus the fact that I was quite confident that the problem was in good hands.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, Bill said that you were the first person to alert the administration about the speaker ban law.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I happened to hear it on the radio and called him.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And then he called Bill Friday?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You knew instantly what that meant?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I knew what it was and that they knew nothing about it and that it was trouble, yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That continued to plague the administration long after Bill left the Chancellorship.
GRACE AYCOCK:
For quite some time, yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
He worked very hard on that, I know.
GRACE AYCOCK:
He went to many, many out-of-town meetings, of course, across the state speaking on the Speaker Ban.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Bill actually submitted his resignation to Bill Friday before the Speaker Ban?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
He told me it was about twelve days before the Speaker Ban and it was a coincidence. And later many people thought he had resigned because of the Speaker Ban, but actually resigned before that. Did you share in that decision?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No, I didn't, Fran. That was something he simply told me about. And that's the way, I thought, it should be. He was the one who was the chancellor. He wanted to get back to his teaching.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, he said, and it's amusing, he says on the tape that seven years isߞI just can paraphrase it badlyߞbut seven years is the legal limit for

Page 15
declaring death, and he decided that he'd be academically dead if he didn't get back to it.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I have heard him say that. But teaching was his profession.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And he wanted to get back.
GRACE AYCOCK:
He felt he took a turn at being chancellor, and he was getting back to his profession.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
How did you feel about the decision?
GRACE AYCOCK:
It was quite all right with me. I had enjoyed our experience in the office and in the house, and the part that I had in it. But whatever he wanted to do, I wanted him to be happy doing. And I was ready to go.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And the children, was Nancy glad to come home?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I think the children were glad. They took it in stride.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Nancy, by then, would have been in high school?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. I think Nancy graduated a couple of years after.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You moved back here to this house.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
When Mrs. Sharp came in, Grace, did you and she have any discussions about the house or the entertaining?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did not discuss very much. I did show her the house, all over, and left her alone to think about it herself and how her furniture would fit into it.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
When, Grace, did you have the onset of your illness, multiple sclerosis, can you remember or was it a gradual thing?
GRACE AYCOCK:
It was abrupt. Bill and I were in New York attending an alumni meeting. I lost the sight, most of the sight, in one eye. And the next morning when we were scheduled to come home, I was ill. I fainted in the bathroom, and I was very nauseated. In fact, I'm not quite sure how Bill got me to the plane, but he did. I used that little brown bag that the stewardesses always tell you about. I used it that day many times. In fact, Bill got out the plane and called Dr. Bill Morgan when we were in Richmond, I believe. And an ambulance met me. I needed one. I was taken straight to the hospital, and of course, that weekend had ACTH intravenously. I was in the hospital several days. Luckily, my eyesight returned over the rest of the summer. I was not told, of course, what I had. I don't think they were sure. The doctors were not sure at that point what I had. They did know I had optical neuritis.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see, they called it that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
That's what it was called.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
When did a diagnosis emerge?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Well, two years later I had another episode in the summer of '63. And was very weak most of that summer. And also had the beginnings of another ailment that I have called Tic Douloureux.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I know about that one.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did not have an acute case, but lost some of the feeling in one side of my face. Dr. Tom Farmer told me that summer that he thought that's what I had. I did not know anything about Multiple Sclerosis. I don't think that I felt well enough for it to bother me a great deal. Then later, I was told by other doctors that they did not find anything in my case, in my situation. I know now that Multiple Sclerosis is hard to diagnose. There is no definitive diagnostic test.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see, I didn't know that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
It must be done on the basis of symptoms. So I have sympathy for the position doctors find themselves in. I went for, for seemed to me many years, when I knew there was something wrong with me, but I did not know what it was. When I finally was told, my first reaction was relief that at least it was not in my head. That I really did have something wrong with me. But then, of course, you realize that it's not a simple thing you have.

Page 16
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh yes, I know. I remember you telling me once that you spent considerable time in the Health Affairs Library reading about Multiple Sclerosis.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did, I read about Multiple Sclerosis, and I also spent some time there reading about Tic Douloureux.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, is this illness, which is chronic, opened your eyes to other handicapped people.
GRACE AYCOCK:
It has given me a much better understanding of people who want to do a great deal more than they can do. I am especially in tune to people whose symptoms do not show.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes.
GRACE AYCOCK:
MS people look normal in the face. I have seen people in wheelchairs who looked normal in the face. So I have a special understanding of people with symptoms that bother you a great deal but do not show. Well, most of my illness has occurred since we left the chancellor's house. A few years after that, you see, our son was in college. Our daughter was in college. Our son graduated from college, went into the Navy for two years, and came back to law school. I was in school myself four years later, and luckily my MS was in remission.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I'd forgotten you went back to school, Grace. What did you go back in?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I studied Social Work. Got a Masters Degree in Social Work in 1969. For two years another social worker and I led several groups of couples in workshops to enrich their marriages. I devised the format of this program, and he and I worked out its content. We co-led several groups in three churches in weekly sessions for periods of three to four months. They were successful and I would have continued, but both my Tic Douloureux and Multiple Sclerosis grew worse. I have not been to work outside our home since, but I continue to run the house and cook.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, I know. Bill told me that, that you were housekeeper. I see you in the grocery store, so I know.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Bill was ill the year after we were out of the chancellor's house.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes indeed.
GRACE AYCOCK:
He was quite ill for several months, and it had been part, I think had been caused, the ulcer that hemorrhaged, had been caused by the hard work he did getting back into teaching. I don't know whether he said this to you, but he has said it to meߞit was the hardest work he ever did.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
He told me that that effort to get back into teaching, because he took on a full load immediately. . . .
GRACE AYCOCK:
He left South Building on July 10, and the 17th or 18th of September he was in the classroom.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, he said he walked out of South Building directly to Manning Hall and started really studying, boning up, to get back into the teaching. One of the things that Bill has done, Grace, and I wondered to what extent you shared this, he's worked very hard on behalf of the ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment. Did you and he talk about that?
GRACE AYCOCK:
A great deal. I appreciated how Bill felt about the Equal Rights Amendment. He prepared a number of talks on it. And Orville Campbell, who was publisher and editor of the Chapel Hill Newspaper, published many of them.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Yes, I've seen a number of them in the volume, the compiled. . . .
GRACE AYCOCK:
And a few of them were published in the Raleigh and Greensboro papers, I know, because I saw them. So they did have a greater publication. He was, of course, disappointed that the Equal Rights Amendment did not pass, but feels that it will at some time.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
At some time, I hope he's right on that. Grace, thinking about it, and I think that in many ways you've answered this, was it a good experience, those seven years?

Page 17
GRACE AYCOCK:
It was a very good experience. It was one that all our family enjoyed. It was strenuous in many ways. It was difficult in some ways. It was difficult not to be at home with our children. We knew they were making sacrifices, but they took it in stride, very well. They are adults, of course, now. And I think are glad they had that experience. I am certainly glad we did.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Good, I'm glad. Are there any changes that you can think of that would make it easier on the chancellor's wife, relieve her burdens some? Or is it just built into the job, what you did?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I don't know that many of the things can be changed. I'm not close enough to it now to give specific suggestions. I think it's entirely worthwhile.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Oh, indeed I do.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Rewarding to you as a woman?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Rewarding, and to get to know the students, faculty, administrative staff, all the staff of the University, alumni, friends of the University, that is a job and a privilege.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Well, Grace, let's take a little break and then if we think of some other questions, we'll come back to it. [interruption]
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, one of the things we haven't done is follow up on your children. You said that Bill had gone into the Navy. After that, what did he do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
He came to the University law school.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Followed in father's footsteps.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Was he ever a student of his father's?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
He didn't take a class with Bill as far as you know?
GRACE AYCOCK:
On second thought, I believe he was in one of his father's courses.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And what's he doing now?
GRACE AYCOCK:
He's practicing law in Greensboro.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh, that's nice, not too far away.
GRACE AYCOCK:
They come to see us often. He has, of course, a wife and two childrenߞone of whom is a freshman at Carolina this year.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh, that must be fun for you.
GRACE AYCOCK:
And his son is a freshman in high school.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And Nancy, where's Nancy now?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Nancy is now living in Rocky Mount. She, of course, went to the University to school and graduated in 1970. She was married shortly after that and divorced. Several years later, married a high school classmate, Dan Leigh.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And you say they're in Rocky Mount.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What does Dan do?
GRACE AYCOCK:
He is one of the editors of the Rocky Mount Telegram, a newspaper.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh really, that's interesting. Is Nancy working, working outside the home, I should say?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Nancy is not working at present outside the home.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, how about your brothers and sisters, those eight brothers and sisters, are they living?
GRACE AYCOCK:
All of us are living.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Do you see much of them?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I do. We stay in close touch, I think, for such a large family. Once a year, we get together. And grandchildren, as many as can come, are in attendance.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That would be your nieces and nephews?

Page 18
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Are you especially close to any of those nieces and nephews?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I love all of them, but there are some that I was closer to for years. There is a niece who had a number of surgical procedures at Duke when she was growing up, and I saw her a great deal during that time. Her mother, who lived in Charlotte, would have to go home to go to work, and Pam would be under my care. So I did see her a great deal.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Was this during the period when Bill was chancellor? Did it overlap with those years?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Part of that time, before, during those years, and after, she had surgery almost every year until she was twenty-one. She had a double harelip and a cleft palate, which required much surgery, including the rebuilding of her nose.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Reconstructive work.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
There was a wonderful man over there, whose name I have forgotten, Nicholas George Aide, was at Duke. It just flashed through my mind that I'd heard of some of the reconstructive work that he did.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Dr. Pickrell was the surgeon who was in charge of her work. He was excellent. Then there were some other nieces and nephews to whom I was very close when they were growing up. They lived here. They had lost their father, so I saw them a great deal. Their mother worked outside the home. They stayed with me when they had a cold.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see, you were the daycare person.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was the daycare person. I took them home from kindergarten when they were small, and did have someone at home, a caretaker.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see, that's a major responsibility. Did that overlap with the years in the chancellor's home?
GRACE AYCOCK:
It did. Their father died while we were in the chancellor's house. But a great deal of the care came after we left the chancellor's house.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Well, you do feel especially close to them.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Indeed. We are a close family even though we are a large family.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
One of the things, Grace, that you had told me that we failed to get on this tape was something about the "Willie" calls. Will you tell me what the was again?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, may I say first, Fran, that I think I left out one of the schools my siblings attended, one of the colleges. I think I left out that my youngest brother graduated from the University here.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I think you didn't. You mentioned State and Duke and East Carolina, but you didn't mention UNC.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, and UNC-G.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you really covered most of the universities as far east as Raleigh, as far west as Chapel Hill anyway.
GRACE AYCOCK:
The "Willie" calls were not of great care to us, but they were the source of embarrassment to some students. Occasionally, we would get a call, sometimes quite late at night, from someone who said he was a student and he had a message on his desk to call Willie at this number, however late he came in. [Laughter] And he, of course, would be greatly embarrassed when he found out who's number he had called, who Willie was.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did you ever have students marching on your house or any activities like that in those days?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did not have students marching on the house. There was once when Bill met them on the campus.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I think he talked about that on tape.
GRACE AYCOCK:
When they were very concerned. They usually, during the civil rights period, they marched on South Building rather than our house. I do

Page 19
remember some unpleasant telephone calls some years when football teams were losing.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh, from alumni as well as students.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I do not know who it was, of course.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You mean anonymous calls?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Anonymous calls, once when we were being beaten by Ohio State, I think it was, the score was very lopsided, and he would call every half an hour or so and say, "I hope you are enjoying this game."
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
[Laughter] Oh great.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Finally the receiver came off the hook. But there was not much of that. [interruption]
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Grace, is there anything we haven't covered now that you can think of that relates to the, in a sense, responsibilities of the chancellor's wife.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I think of the fact that I did make a few talks.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh, you did. So you were called on to talk to what, Woman's Associations?
GRACE AYCOCK:
No, they were mostly in Chapel Hill and were students' wives groups. I remember especially the law students' wives and pharmacy students' wives. Also, to one of the Valkyrie breakfasts. I remember once presenting the Irene Lee Award.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh, that's to an outstanding woman, I believe.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Woman, yes. I was an advisor of the Carolina Woman's Council which was made up of leaders of the dormitories.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see. So you did that. What message did you give to women as the chancellor's wife?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I mostly talked to the student wives about what an important thing I felt they were doing to help their husbands get through school, and some of them, of course, were working outside the home.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Putting husbands through, we called it. PHT, we called it. She's getting her PHT, Putting Husband Through, yes. I remember those days.
GRACE AYCOCK:
And of course, the Valkyries are mostly about being a student leader, which, of course, they were. The presentation of the Irene Lee Award was a shorter presentation.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Of that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, mostly about the girl who had won it.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Well, Grace, I think we've covered a lot of aspects of the chancellor's wife. Certainly not all there was, but I think you've given me a good insight into it. I certainly remember those days well, living down Laurel Hill Road from where the chancellor's residence was.
GRACE AYCOCK:
The only thing I can remember that I have not mentioned is that the Homecoming Queen was once selected at our house.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh really.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the group who were doing the selecting and all the candidates were there. It was an interesting, fun afternoon for me, but it was probably more strenuous for them.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
A little stressful for the girls.
GRACE AYCOCK:
And sometime during those years I served as a jurist for the Miss Chapel Hill Contest. Not at our house, but I think it was in Memorial Hall.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
My little red light is flashing which means this tape is running out. I have enjoyed, Grace.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Thank you, I have enjoyed it too, Fran.
END OF INTERVIEW